“Disability,” what does it mean? Well, that’s a good question. Disability can have a lot of meaning. Disability can mean different things to different people. It can mean a physical disability, emotional disability, mental disability, or all of the above. In this article, we are going to find out how mental illness can become a disability.
When a person has some type of disability, it causes inequality. It impacts their ability to function in their families and communities. A person who has a mental illness can have a disability. For instance, for people with mental illnesses, there is sometimes an absence of clear thinking. This may affect their work or the choices they make at home. They may get snappy with the kids or grumpy at their partners. When a person is mentally or physically disabled, this can cause emotional turmoil. It can impact happiness and quality of life. Australia’s anti-discrimination laws protect people who suffer from a disability. It is designed to promote, fairness and equality through all aspects of community.
How Mental Illness Becomes a Disability
According to the World Health Organization’s report, 15% of the world’s population, roughly a billion people, live with disabilities. Not all disabilities are visible and that is why spreading awareness is important. Not all disabilities are visibly apparent. To illustrate, let us name a few:
- Chronic pain
- Sight impairment
- Hearing loss
- Brain injuries
- Neurological disorders
- Cognitive dysfunctions
We are becoming increasingly aware of how common mental illness is. Mental illness can disable a person for obvious reasons. According to the Black Dog Institute, 1 out of 5 Australians do experience some kind of mental illness. The most common mental illnesses are depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorder. For instance, prolonged anxious worry can trigger depression. There is then an attempt to subdue the depression through substance abuse. The study further states that at least 45% of Australians will experience some type of mental illness or disability in their lifetime.
Need for better access
Hence, access to mental health care services is immediate, and of absolute importance. Most people who get help from mental health care professionals do gain benefits from their treatment. Getting help is warranted. Especially when there is a disability and flow-on effects impacting other areas. Depression and anxiety must not be taken lightly, because they may lead to self-harm or even suicide. In fact, about 8 Australians a day die by means of suicide. If that is not alarming, then what is?
There is an increasing awareness of the need to support people with mental health-related disabilities. Doctors, allied health professionals especially psychologist play a part in mental health disability advocacy. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is one example of an avenue for help. Other less formal, community-based supports are just as important.
A disability may also partially contribute to mood disorders. This makes sense since disabilities cause pain, frustration and get in the way of productivity. No one likes being unproductive. Depression then sets in, this is actually the number one cause of non-fatal disability in Australia. Subsequently, WHO had stated that depression will be the primary health concern of all developing nations by the year 2030.
Mental illness or mental disability is common. It has potentially serious effects. Mental illness undoubtedly can impair daily activities and functioning. Plus it can have chronic long-lasting effects. Whilst mental illness or disability may not be as overt as a physical disability, it can cause significant impairment.
Mental Disability, Coping with your options
For every problem, there is a solution or workaround. This is equally true for disability. You want to get help and know where to get it. Unfair or unequal treatment of disabled persons is inhumane, and not to mention, illegal. Help is available. The Australian Government provides two main forms of government-funded assistance for the disabled.
1)One is Disability Support Pension (DSP).
2) National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for mental illness as mentioned above.
The Australian Government Services provides DSP for certain disabilities. DSP provides financial support, an allowance for rental help and so much more. On the other hand, NDIS helps improve access. How? Through the funding of the cost of care, enabling a person with a disability to live a fuller life. Therefore, by providing funds people are able to connect better in society and with those at home.
So, how do you get the DSP and NDIS assistance that the Australian Government offers? Well, we can begin by calling our GP and discussing our options. A person with a mental illness or disability will most likely be referred to a mental health care professional by the GP. This is so that an assessment can be done. Further assessments and treatment may be needed. This is to ensure that the person who wishes to apply for DSP or NDIS meets the strict requirements.
It should be noted that people who suffer from mental illnesses or disability may have to go through yearly reviews. The level of disability can fluctuate. It is important to get the right supports for the disability. GPs and other mental health professionals can help you to get the care you need.